Write Like a Pro: Best Essay Writing Tools and Practices To Get You Ready For College

In just a few days, thousands of universities across the country will open their doors and welcome the class of 2026.

Whether you’re a new incoming freshman or a burned-out senior, the same package deal awaits behind those gates: a myriad of classes to take, countless loud parties to enjoy, and many, many essays to write (usually due the next morning.)

Depending on your course load, you may find yourself writing as many as 10–15 essays in one semester. If you’re a STEM major, chances are you’re more analytical and less comfortable with writing, though you’re still required to take General Education classes. And if you’re in the Liberal Arts, people probably think that you love to read an endless amount of articles and write long pieces.

But you don’t. No one does.

Writing an essay is an arduous process that almost always seems intimidating at first. You sit in front of your laptop staring at a blank page and a cursor that won’t stop blinking at you, begging your fingers to punch those keys to move it forward.

To help you get started, here is a list of 5 tips, tools, and best practices to streamline the process and make essay writing more tolerable:

  1. Start from the end. It may feel counterintuitive, but it works 100% of the time.
    Waiting for inspiration to hit you won’t get you very far in the writing process. You need to have a clear idea of the point you are trying to make, or what you are hoping the reader will think, feel, or understand after reading your piece.
    Once you have the ‘bottom line’ figured out and worded properly, it’ll give you a sense of direction, and writing the rest will be that much easier.
  2. Use AI technology. Writing involves a lot of reading, too. In academic writing, you’re expected to reference appropriate sources and quote other works to support your arguments.
    As the school year progresses, you might struggle to keep up with all the readings, and want to try and work smarter, not harder.
    Today, there are plenty of tools that can save you hours of work. Upword’s AI generates notes within seconds that’ll give you the key ideas and main thread of any article, cutting out up to 80% of the text. It allows you to edit the summary and collaborate with friends. Before you tackle your next writing assignment, have your summaries ready for easier reference.
  3. Organize your thoughts. It’s helpful to outline your main points — the bones of your essay — before you jump into it.
    Writing an entire article or an essay seems overwhelming. It’s easier to break it down into smaller parts, expand on each one separately, and slowly integrate them into one coherent piece.
  4. Watch a short video on the subject. Whatever you’re writing about, you’re probably not the first to explore it.
    A quick search will likely yield multiple videos at different lengths that’ll help you get into the right mindset. They might mention relevant articles, clarify terms you’re not sure about, or simply boost your confidence as you approach the topic.
  5. Write, even if it’s bad. Writing is a laborious type-delete-repeat journey. The first paragraph is always the hardest to come up with. Just like with motivation, it often comes after you’ve taken the first step, not before.
    So go ahead and take a stab at it. You can always go back and change it, but you have to get some words on the page first to get the ball rolling.

Writing an essay is not an easy task, but there’s no need to panic. If you follow the right steps and create enough structure, it’ll help you think more clearly. Remember: writing is a skill that you hone over time. You can get better at it, and you will.